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COVID: lies, damn lies, and statistics

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Old Thursday 7th May 2020, 09:02   #101
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https://www.ft.com/content/a26fbf7e-...3-955839e06441

Excess Death Rates and Mortality Rates (3rd and 4th graphs) for a range of countries/locations to this week.


(FT= Financial Times, a long-established/respected UK newspaper/journalism source)
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Old Thursday 7th May 2020, 09:07   #102
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Epidemics grow exponentially over time and then decay, following a specific equation or curve with considerable momentum to it. The turning point where they hit some limit to further growth is not the peak, but the earlier point where the curve stops climbing ever more steeply and begins to level off instead: not where the death trend itself finally reverses, but where its rate of growth first begins to decline. (The inflection point determined by the time derivative, in the language of calculus.) This paper demonstrates that this point where the epidemic hit a limit in each country of Western Europe does not coincide with the imposition of lockdowns. (There's only minimal treatment of USA where policies and timing varied across 50 states, though the overall curve is similar to Europe's.) In fact, deaths somehow reached a higher number than the pre-lockdown trend (already in decay) would have predicted! The pattern is the same in each country: although deaths continued to rise for a while, the epidemic had already begun to decay several weeks before lockdowns were implemented, and therefore for some other reason instead.
One confounding factor may be related to the news that the virus is constantly mutating (as expected, but 200+ variations according to one recent news report?). Apart from anything else we're looking at so many variables ..

Still continues to surprise me that the virus did not take off within the rest of China as dramatically as it has in Europe, and even Wuhan (even allowing for doctored figures)
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Old Thursday 7th May 2020, 09:33   #103
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Alarming confirmed statistic......https://news.sky.com/story/coronavir...9-ons-11984448
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Old Thursday 7th May 2020, 09:35   #104
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One confounding factor may be related to the news that the virus is constantly mutating (as expected, but 200+ variations according to one recent news report?). Apart from anything else we're looking at so many variables ..

Still continues to surprise me that the virus did not take off within the rest of China as dramatically as it has in Europe, and even Wuhan (even allowing for doctored figures)
They locked large parts of China down in a harsh manner. People gave a tendency to think that Wuhan was locked down and the rest of China was "mildly regulated" but as far I understand rest of China looked moreorless near what we call "lockdown" and Wuhan looked like nothing we can imagine. Then they employed something like hundred thousand people to track and trace everyone from Wuhan across China if I am not mistaken and that was the "miracle" - hard work.

The 200 mutations is not a significant number - most of them are mutations without effect on the behaviour of the virus - the genetic code is a bit flexible, there is even more 3-letter combinations than aminoacids so a mutation may not even change the protein made, or it may change it in a part that's not structural etc... the number of mutations itself doesn't say much, it's important to know if there are mutations that have effect. (Well, for sure there are, the virus constantly mutates anywhere! But only the mutations that lead to a working virus will be seen).

As for the article about "epidemics dying out by itself", I am sceptical, as it goes against all previous observations. Yes, epidemics go up and down, but they go naturally down only if immunity is achieved (which we know it isn't, led me repeat the <1 percent Czech result) or if virus mutates to something mild (as in the last big flu), which we also don't see.

I am however kinda fascinated by what happens in Sweden at this point. I don't buy all of their marketing and saying they did "nothing" is very simplistic, but I am still really surprised it did not explode more.

In any case, this whole conundrum of understanding cause and effect closely parallels the frustration of studying our Universe. When will we finally get a few universes more so that we can have a proper control group?! The fact that you can't do frequentist inference with just one Universe and have to resort to dumb Bayessianism is really embarrassing!
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Old Thursday 7th May 2020, 09:54   #105
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They locked large parts of China down in a harsh manner. People gave a tendency to think that Wuhan was locked down and the rest of China was "mildly regulated" but as far I understand rest of China looked moreorless near what we call "lockdown" and Wuhan looked like nothing we can imagine. Then they employed something like hundred thousand people to track and trace everyone from Wuhan across China if I am not mistaken and that was the "miracle" - hard work.

The 200 mutations is not a significant number - most of them are mutations without effect on the behaviour of the virus - the genetic code is a bit flexible, there is even more 3-letter combinations than aminoacids so a mutation may not even change the protein made, or it may change it in a part that's not structural etc... the number of mutations itself doesn't say much, it's important to know if there are mutations that have effect. (Well, for sure there are, the virus constantly mutates anywhere! But only the mutations that lead to a working virus will be seen).

As for the article about "epidemics dying out by itself", I am sceptical, as it goes against all previous observations. Yes, epidemics go up and down, but they go naturally down only if immunity is achieved (which we know it isn't, led me repeat the <1 percent Czech result) or if virus mutates to something mild (as in the last big flu), which we also don't see.

I am however kinda fascinated by what happens in Sweden at this point. I don't buy all of their marketing and saying they did "nothing" is very simplistic, but I am still really surprised it did not explode more.

In any case, this whole conundrum of understanding cause and effect closely parallels the frustration of studying our Universe. When will we finally get a few universes more so that we can have a proper control group?! The fact that you can't do frequentist inference with just one Universe and have to resort to dumb Bayessianism is really embarrassing!
I knew they'd made a big effort and stopped it in its tracks but still surprises me given the numbers - I'd suspect they stopped it due to hard work as you say, but any true figures of how many had it haven't made it out

The amount of disinfectant they apparently used ...

200 mutations - sure, I have seen an article or two stating that there are 3 or 4 (?) notable mutations and that the strain in US and Europe may have a more virulent nature. Pretty sure that was scientific rather than someone's musings, but where the link is now ...
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Old Thursday 7th May 2020, 18:23   #106
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It is all a big joke here in the UK in reality. From a BBC news article I just read -

"Passengers travelling through some UK airports are being told to cover their faces and wear gloves due to Covid-19.

The new rules will apply to those travelling through Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports from Thursday.

The three airports are believed to be the first in the UK to introduce such strict hygiene rules."



Strict? What was going on before, and is happening everywhere else? If you're going to have a lockdown, and some restrictions, I guess the idea is to do it as half-arsed as you can ...
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Old Thursday 7th May 2020, 21:50   #107
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Chosun, would you be able to succinctly explain what measures you think should have been enacted?
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Yep, happy to do that when I get back tonight.
It’s been several days now since you made that promise, Chosun, but we haven’t heard back from you. Finding the task too daunting, are you? Or have you just forgotten?
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Old Friday 8th May 2020, 05:34   #108
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It is all a big joke here in the UK in reality. From a BBC news article I just read -

"Passengers travelling through some UK airports are being told to cover their faces and wear gloves due to Covid-19.

The new rules will apply to those travelling through Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports from Thursday.

The three airports are believed to be the first in the UK to introduce such strict hygiene rules."



Strict? What was going on before, and is happening everywhere else? If you're going to have a lockdown, and some restrictions, I guess the idea is to do it as half-arsed as you can ...

A cloth covering is a peicemeal gesture at best, where are people supposed to get masks from is what I want to know because I surely ain't paying what they ask on Amazon for them.

Most people won't be flying anyway, especially on Aer Lingus!
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Old Friday 8th May 2020, 08:04   #109
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A cloth covering is a peicemeal gesture at best ...
There are plenty of peer-reviewed studies showing that even simple homemade cloth masks block a significant proportion of the droplets you exhale though your mouth and your nose. They thus reduce the risk for others significantly, given that an estimated number of 80 percent of all infections are caused by inhaling droplets. ([1], [2], [3])

In addition, they apparently also reduce the risk for the wearer by reducing the virus concentration he/she is exposed to when meeting someone who is infected. (Note that this is as yet not proven by peer-reviewed studies. However, some eminent German virologists believe this to be the case.) That's may be important in places like shops and supermarkets or public transport because a significant number of people who're infected with the virus are asympomatic. Also people are most infectious one or two days before they develop symptoms.

Suggesting it's just a "piecemeal gesture" is therefore plainly wrong. That the UK government doesn't mandate the wearing of masks in crowded places like public transport just proves again they're a bunch of fools. Not that I ever doubted that.

Hermann

Some references:
[1] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0843-2 (Comment: A study on surgical masks. It doesn't consider FFP 2 and FFP 3 masks that are used in hospitals when dealing with patients suffering from highly infectious diseases. Surgical masks are availably at reasonable prices in Germany in many places)
[2] https://www.cambridge.org/core/journ...55/core-reader (Comment: This study focuses on masks made from T-shirts. Most recommendations today advocate using a more closely woven cloth, and using a double-layer construction. Such masks are now available in Germany all over the place)
[3] https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/Infekt...ublicationFile (Comment: In German. Contains the present position of the Robert Koch Institut on wearing masks, including a list of references on p. 5.)

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Old Friday 8th May 2020, 08:33   #110
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There are plenty of peer-reviewed studies showing that even simple homemade cloth masks block a significant proportion of the droplets you exhale though your mouth and your nose. They thus reduce the risk for others significantly, given that an estimated number of 80 percent of all infections are caused by inhaling droplets. ([1], [2], [3])

In addition, they apparently also reduce the risk for the wearer by reducing the virus concentration he/she is exposed to when meeting someone who is infected. (Note that this is as yet not proven by peer-reviewed studies. However, some eminent German virologists believe this to be the case.) That's may be important in places like shops and supermarkets or public transport because a significant number of people who're infected with the virus are asympomatic. Also people are most infectious one or two days before they develop symptoms.

Suggesting it's just a "piecemeal gesture" is therefore plainly wrong. That the UK government doesn't mandate the wearing of masks in crowded places like public transport just proves again they're a bunch of fools. Not that I ever doubted that.

Hermann

Some references:
[1] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0843-2 (Comment: A study on surgical masks. It doesn't consider FFP 2 and FFP 3 masks that are used in hospitals when dealing with patients suffering from highly infectious diseases. Surgical masks are availably at reasonable prices in Germany in many places)
[2] https://www.cambridge.org/core/journ...55/core-reader (Comment: This study focuses on masks made from T-shirts. Most recommendations today advocate using a more closely woven cloth, and using a double-layer construction. Such masks are now available in Germany all over the place)
[3] https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/Infekt...ublicationFile (Comment: In German. Contains the present position of the Robert Koch Institut on wearing masks, including a list of references on p. 5.)
Perhaps you could inform the great British public, where we may get face masks, even out healthcare proffesionals are struggling to get them?

How could you even try to enforce this law if the materials with which to comply, are not available? I would suggest that airlines, airports, rail stations who insist on this, should be handing them out at the terminals.
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Old Friday 8th May 2020, 09:25   #111
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Perhaps you could inform the great British public, where we may get face masks, even out healthcare proffesionals are struggling to get them?

How could you even try to enforce this law if the materials with which to comply, are not available? I would suggest that airlines, airports, rail stations who insist on this, should be handing them out at the terminals.
I agree with that. Otherwise don't offer a service.

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Old Friday 8th May 2020, 10:52   #112
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There are plenty of peer-reviewed studies showing that even simple homemade cloth masks block a significant proportion of the droplets you exhale though your mouth and your nose. They thus reduce the risk for others significantly, given that an estimated number of 80 percent of all infections are caused by inhaling droplets. ([1], [2], [3])

In addition, they apparently also reduce the risk for the wearer by reducing the virus concentration he/she is exposed to when meeting someone who is infected. (Note that this is as yet not proven by peer-reviewed studies. However, some eminent German virologists believe this to be the case.) That's may be important in places like shops and supermarkets or public transport because a significant number of people who're infected with the virus are asympomatic. Also people are most infectious one or two days before they develop symptoms.

Suggesting it's just a "piecemeal gesture" is therefore plainly wrong. That the UK government doesn't mandate the wearing of masks in crowded places like public transport just proves again they're a bunch of fools. Not that I ever doubted that.

Hermann

Some references:
[1] https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0843-2 (Comment: A study on surgical masks. It doesn't consider FFP 2 and FFP 3 masks that are used in hospitals when dealing with patients suffering from highly infectious diseases. Surgical masks are availably at reasonable prices in Germany in many places)
[2] https://www.cambridge.org/core/journ...55/core-reader (Comment: This study focuses on masks made from T-shirts. Most recommendations today advocate using a more closely woven cloth, and using a double-layer construction. Such masks are now available in Germany all over the place)
[3] https://www.rki.de/DE/Content/Infekt...ublicationFile (Comment: In German. Contains the present position of the Robert Koch Institut on wearing masks, including a list of references on p. 5.)
Excellent info Hermann.

I also heard advice on BBC radio that you should put it straight into a saucepan on arrival home (not on any other surface) and immediately wash your hands in case you touched a contaminated surface when you removed the mask, and then boil the mask to kill the virus load it is carrying.

Clearly there is no point in a mask if you are just going to handle it as if it was safe and put it down on tables and worktops.

Lee
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Old Friday 8th May 2020, 23:29   #113
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Perhaps you could inform the great British public, where we may get face masks, even out healthcare proffesionals are struggling to get them?

How could you even try to enforce this law if the materials with which to comply, are not available? I would suggest that airlines, airports, rail stations who insist on this, should be handing them out at the terminals.
Andy

My wife has made ours from a local design (attached as PDF). It was recommended to me by someone who trains nurses. I know a friend's wife who has done the same.

If you do give it a go or ask someone to make one for you, the adaptation is to sew in pipe cleaner or flower arranging wire across the top so it fits snugly across the top of the nose & breath in through the nose and out through the mouth to stop glasses steaming up.

The recommendation is to be clean shaven.

Stay safe

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File Type: pdf Face.mask.amended.pdf (2.04 MB, 9 views)
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Old Saturday 9th May 2020, 05:36   #114
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Perhaps you could inform the great British public, where we may get face masks, even out healthcare proffesionals are struggling to get them?
DIY. Get out that ol' sawing machine and make your own masks. There's plenty of advice on Youtube.

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Old Saturday 9th May 2020, 06:51   #115
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Andy

My wife has made ours from a local design (attached as PDF). It was recommended to me by someone who trains nurses. I know a friend's wife who has done the same.

If you do give it a go or ask someone to make one for you, the adaptation is to sew in pipe cleaner or flower arranging wire across the top so it fits snugly across the top of the nose & breath in through the nose and out through the mouth to stop glasses steaming up.

The recommendation is to be clean shaven.

Stay safe

Paul
Great! Very Helpful. I had already planned to start making them, as they are compulsory here - although the local councils distribute them for free, they are made of itchy material, not very comfortable especially when it's warm outside!
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Old Saturday 9th May 2020, 07:03   #116
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If you accept (or get forced by you government to accept) a piece of cloth to have any effect, you don't really need a sewing machine or skills, you can just tie a scarf or whatever you cut from a random piece of fabric around your face. It doesn't get magically better if it has neat ties behind your neck, that's not where the virus is.
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Old Saturday 9th May 2020, 07:53   #117
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Andy

My wife has made ours from a local design (attached as PDF). It was recommended to me by someone who trains nurses. I know a friend's wife who has done the same.

If you do give it a go or ask someone to make one for you, the adaptation is to sew in pipe cleaner or flower arranging wire across the top so it fits snugly across the top of the nose & breath in through the nose and out through the mouth to stop glasses steaming up.

The recommendation is to be clean shaven.

Stay safe


Paul

Cheers Paul.
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Old Saturday 9th May 2020, 07:54   #118
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DIY. Get out that ol' sawing machine and make your own masks. There's plenty of advice on Youtube.

Hermann
Or it may be a bit easier with a 'sewing' machine.....
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Old Saturday 9th May 2020, 07:59   #119
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If you accept (or get forced by you government to accept) a piece of cloth to have any effect, you don't really need a sewing machine or skills, you can just tie a scarf or whatever you cut from a random piece of fabric around your face. It doesn't get magically better if it has neat ties behind your neck, that's not where the virus is.
I agree,
I saw articles stating the regulation NHS masks are of limited value, hence all healthcare workers are now provided with a higher 'spec'.

I reiterate, if transport hubs and carriers are insisting on face coverings, they should be getting handed out at e.g rail terminals and airports and be of a type which offers meaningful protection.
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Old Saturday 9th May 2020, 08:06   #120
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If you accept (or get forced by you government to accept) a piece of cloth to have any effect, you don't really need a sewing machine or skills, you can just tie a scarf or whatever you cut from a random piece of fabric around your face. It doesn't get magically better if it has neat ties behind your neck, that's not where the virus is.
I kinda find it funny that you were one of the most vociferous that there should be lockdowns from the onset (and people who didn't agree were absolute fools), and yet you're pretty anti some of the other measures designed to limit the spread of the virus ...

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Old Saturday 9th May 2020, 08:08   #121
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I agree,
I saw articles stating the regulation NHS masks are of limited value, hence all healthcare workers are now provided with a higher 'spec'.

I reiterate, if transport hubs and carriers are insisting on face coverings, they should be getting handed out at e.g rail terminals and airports and be of a type which offers meaningful protection.
They do offer meaningful protection. It's about reducing spread.
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Old Saturday 9th May 2020, 08:09   #122
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I agree,
I saw articles stating the regulation NHS masks are of limited value, hence all healthcare workers are now provided with a higher 'spec'.

I reiterate, if transport hubs and carriers are insisting on face coverings, they should be getting handed out at e.g rail terminals and airports and be of a type which offers meaningful protection.
Well meanwhile the Czech government has imposed face coverings everywhere outside your home at a moment when it was impossible to purchase any kind of a face mask anywhere and the idea of giving them to people for free is still completely outlandish to them. Just make the rules, distribute fines (not masks) and people will manage ...

There was this absurd article in the news about people who had a car crash and did not have masks (as you don't have to wear it in a car - now! - you used to!) and that was the problem, not the bloody destruction caused by the crash and rescue workers were mad they had to "lend" them masks so that they could be transported for treatment. The idea that someone would get something for free, even such a minor thing, is seemingly heretic.
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Old Saturday 9th May 2020, 08:14   #123
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They do offer meaningful protection. It's about reducing spread.
No problem them, give them to NHS workers, I don't see why they're complaining?
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Old Saturday 9th May 2020, 08:19   #124
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I kinda find it funny that you were one of the most vociferous that there should be lockdowns from the onset (and people who didn't agree were absolute fools), and yet you're pretty anti some of the other measures designed to limit the spread of the virus ...

That's a false dichotomy that you are presenting here. The actual evidence for people wearing random pieces of cloth (and even moreso when being outdoors) being beneficial in any way is tenuous at best. Don't get fooled by people repeating how it "obviously" works, it's mostly just feelings and opinions, or correlation presented as causation. There are still studies showing that simple cloth masks can even make the situation worse for example.

I am very much for fighting the virus, but I would prefer doing so efficiently, not with a spectacle or with mass hysteria. The amount if times I have heard out politician say "doing X is now safe if we all have masks" is really scary to me, considering the lack of evidence for the efficiency of the mask. If this is how the decisions are made, we are pretty much fucked.

So yeah, the lockdowns were needed. They were not executed great and we may still be screwed because in most places they have been just used to stall, not to hire and train thousands of people to track, trace, test and isolate. I am now worried that what we are seeing is actually the effect of the spring, people will think it's all over, the massive investment will not be done and in autumn, we will be even more screwed. Especially because when that happens, the first thing governments will do will be to reimpose masks, which will do nothing and it will be too late when they realize that.
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Old Saturday 9th May 2020, 08:20   #125
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Originally Posted by andyadcock View Post
No problem them, give them to NHS workers, I don't see why they're complaining?
Because they are working in an environment surrounded and loaded with a highly contagious and deadly disease perhaps ... ???

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